Deborah L. Jacobs
Summer job-hunting can really put you in a funk. Sometimes it looks as if everyone–except you–is on vacation. Your e-mails and phone calls go unanswered. Managers can’t get around to hiring decisions.
But before you feel sorry for yourself or hang up the “gone fishin’” sign until Labor Day, consider the opportunities you may be missing. Freelance work filling in for vacationing staffers can lead to permanent positions. (When I was self-employed, summer was always my busiest time.) As other job hunters kick back, you have less competition, and a greater chance to stand out.
True, it may be more difficult to land interviews, but summer is a great time to update your résumé and your LinkedIn profile, and take the other preliminary steps that can advance your job search. Here are some ways to beat the summertime blues:
Renew or expand contacts. Most job leads come through personal contacts, and what better time to nurture them than when the pace of business is a little slower? If you approached a company six months or a year ago, try them again now.
With managers generally more relaxed, they also might be receptive to a call or e-mail from you asking, “Could I come in and chat with you about what you do and career opportunities in your field?” These are not interviews in the formal sense–there may not even be an opening right now. The idea is to use such meetings to establish relationships in companies and industries where you ultimately want a job.
And look at all the informal summer get-togethers that have the potential to expand your circle of contacts. You could go along with friends to their company picnics or sports events. Another option: plan a barbecue and ask each friend to bring someone you’ve never meet. (See “How To Work A Room Like You Own The Place.”)
Take stock of your goals. People can be most helpful if you tell them precisely what you want in a job (rather than, for example, saying what turned you off about your last–or current–position). So use the next few weeks to set priorities: What’s more important to you at this stage–a flexible work schedule, challenging assignments, or a higher salary?
Go on a self-improvement campaign. Use the time to catch up on reading trade publications or upgrade your skills or image. Maybe you’ve wanted to learn more about social media or spruce up your writing. Even if it’s too late for summer school, you can ask a friend to coach you or sign up for fall courses.
Hard as it may be, take a good look in the mirror, and ask yourself, “Would you hire you?” Fight the battle of the bulge with outdoor exercise, or find someone to coach you with interviewing skills. (See “How To Make A Lasting Impression.”)
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